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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Gettysburg chapter.

There is no better feeling than walking around campus and stopping to talk to multiple people in a row. After these interactions, I always walk away smiling and it inspires me to meet more people and make even more connections.

However, I know this isn’t everyone’s experience. I’m a pretty shy person at first, so I know how it feels to wander campus and see no one you know. (And for some reason, this always seems to happen when someone’s visiting me at school.) Whether you’re a first-year unable to find your people and battling homesickness, or an upperclassman who wants to expand your circle, we have some tips to help you to grow your network.

Say Their Name

“Say my name, say my name, when no one is around you, say baby I love you…”

Learning someone’s name is the first step toward lifelong friendship! But for real, a conversation feels so much more genuine and comfortable when you say the other person’s name, and vice versa. When someone uses my name while talking to me, it makes me feel more comfortable and more visible. I’m not just some random girl on-line with them at Servo, but I’m Sophia!

For example, when you introduce yourselves, your go-to phrase may be “It’s nice to meet you!” It’s so impactful yet easy to say “It’s nice to meet you, Sophia!” This way, you’re not only showing your potential friend how interested you are in the conversation, but it also helps you to remember their name for later on. When you say goodbye, hit them with a “Bye Sophia” to really drive that comfort home.

This tip works even if you already know the person. The next time you see someone you know around campus, don’t just wave or say “Hi,” say “Hi Sophia!” Not only does this help solidify your relationship, but using their name can also help you to grab their attention. There’s nothing sadder than someone not noticing you saying “Hi” to them.

Match Their Energy

Okay, I’m not telling you to put on a fake personality, but some situations call for different versions of yourself. You may think you need to be the most bubbly person to ever live to make friends, but that is completely false. If the person you’re trying to befriend is a little shy or low-key, your energetic side may scare them off a little! The reverse is true for a more extroverted potential friend.

It is so important to read the situation and their energy so they can see how well you two can get along. As you two grow more comfortable in your relationship, you’ll find that your energies unconsciously match anyway. Who knows, you may even discover a new side of yourself.

Say ‘Yes’

Disclaimer: Don’t say “Yes” to anything you’re uncomfortable with!

Okay, you know how to talk to other people, but how do you actually meet them? I know just as well as anyone else that social batteries are a VERY real thing, and mine is almost always drained. But you can’t meet many people if you aren’t involved! In my opinion, making friends organically comes down to forced proximity. If you spend a lot of time with someone, you are bound to become comfortable with one another and become friends. For most of us, college is only four years long, so it’s in your best interest to take advantage and get involved, even if you meet no one new.

If your roommate asks to get lunch, say “Yes!” If you see a flyer for a cool event, mark it down in your planner. Make sure you have time for yourself and your school work, but you should also be trying to bulk up your resume and fill your free time! There are so many cool events, organizations, and clubs on campus, so the possibilities are endless. Check out Engage Gettysburg and your email to see if anything is happening soon excites you!

be Physically Available

What are looking for? Do you want to make more friends in your major? People to hang out with on the weekend? Someone to go on battlefield walks with? While you may be able to find these people out in the open, you will most likely find them doing that exact activity!

If you’re looking for more Biology major friends, you’re probably not going to find them if you hang out in Weidensall Hall all day. But really, if you want to make more friends, they are probably not going to appear in your dorm room. It’s so difficult to put yourself out there, but that’s how friendships work! So take some time out of your day to be present in these areas.

In line with the previous example, if you’re looking for Biology major friends, hang out in the Science Center! Go to any STEM club meetings! You’ll definitely get to talk to Biology majors there, and you may be able to create a closer and with a few of them. It’s like you’re manifesting friends!

give out Compliments

In freshman year, I remember a girl complimenting my dress and it truly made my day. A whole year later, I realized that girl was my sophomore year roommate! While her initial compliment didn’t spark our friendship, I think it’s worth noting that her comment has stayed with me for three years.

Compliments are one of the best ways to reach someone’s heart. It is also a great way to start a conversation! For example, you could compliment someone’s shoes and then ask them where they got their kicks. This gives you the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself, and maybe tell them why you like their shoes!

Do someone a favor, ask for a favor

A true friend is someone that would help you with anything and vice versa. Not only is it super nice to help someone out, but it can also make them realize how awesome you are! Soon, your potential friend will start thinking of you as someone who is super helpful and kind, and they’ll be more likely to accept a lunch invite from you. Just make sure you aren’t becoming someone’s personal doormat.

Like I said earlier, favors are a two-way street. It may seem counter-intuitive, but asking someone to help you with something easy could also spark a friendship! I’m sure there are people out there who want to be your friend as well but may not know if you like them. Asking for help will not only lessen your load, but it could help your friend-crush realize that you see them as someone you could rely on and like! They’ll feel a bit more confident and it’ll be a little easier to start another conversation!

If you miss a class, don’t be afraid to reach out to the person that sits next to you in class to see what you missed. And do the same for someone else, they’ll appreciate it!

Use your network

On that note, don’t count out the people who you already know! There are tons of people who are regularly in the same classes as you, and these people are prime candidates for potential friends. This goes for people in your clubs as well! Since you already see these people regularly, you have the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation or use an assignment as an excuse to hang out. Maybe ask to do homework together, get coffee, or ask to work on a project together!

If you already have some friends on campus, ask them if you could hang out with their other friends as well! In my opinion, this is the best, most genuine way to meet other people on campus. Everyone has a mutual friend, and the vibe is usually more relaxed because of this.

Overall, don’t forget to be yourself and put your best foot forward. If you’re struggling to make friends, I want you to know that it will all work out. Your people are out there, it’s just a matter of finding them. Some people find friends easily, but don’t let that discourage you. We all have different college experiences! And of course, I will always be your friend. Hit me up.

Sophia Kenny

Gettysburg '24

Sophia Kenny graduated in May of 2024. During her time in Her Campus, she served as the President of Her Campus Gettysburg and former Vice President of Social Media. She covered many aspects of culture and college life, such as things to do around campus and ways to get acclimated. Sophia studied English and Business, Organization, and Management at Gettysburg College from 2020-2024. She was an Undergraduate Fellow of the Eisenhower Institute, served as Sooth's Gen Z Audience Council Chair, and completed an English Honors Thesis. Sophia's work has been published in the Gettysburg Connection and the Mercury. She has served as an intern for the Gettysburg Connection, Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, First & First Consulting, and Sooth. In her free time, Sophia enjoys hanging out with friends and her cat, Star. You can find her procrastinating in the library, or listening to a podcast and painting her nails at home. You can keep up with her on LinkedIn.